Chennai | Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on Wednesday urged the Centre to re-introduce direct flight connectivity between Tokyo and Chennai and increase the number of flights from Singapore to Madurai.
Writing to Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiradiya Scindia, Stalin said the direct flight service between Chennai and Tokyo, launched in October 2019 by All Nippon Airways, was discontinued during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The service is yet to resumed and the lack of direct flight connectivity more than doubles the travel time between these two destinations by about 7 hours, he noted.
"There have been persistent requests from the Japanese business community in Tamil Nadu to resume direct flight services between Chennai and Tokyo." Stalin pointed to the presence of a string of manufacturing facilities of Japanese conglomerates such as the Nissan and Mitsubishi in Tamil Nadu, the increase in the number of Japanese expatriates; Chennai being home to the largest Japanese community in India and a significant Tamil diaspora in Japan.
The CM referred to his tour of Singapore and Japan to attract investments and invite prospective investors for the Global Investors Meet proposed to be held by the Tamil Nadu government in January, 2024.
On May 23, the CM embarked on the foreign tour and he is scheduled to return home on May 31 night.
Stalin said though there were multiple daily flight connections between Singapore and Chennai and Tiruchirappalli and one daily flight between Singapore and Coimbatore, there was 'only a tri-weekly flight' between Singapore and Madurai.
"This issue of more flight services between Singapore and Madurai was raised by the Minister for Home Affairs and Law of the Government of Singapore, K Shanmugham when he met me. A similar request was also raised by many members of the Tamil diaspora in Singapore." The CM said Singapore has a sizeable population of nearly 4 lakh people of Tamil origin and a lot of people from the southern districts of Tamil Nadu travel to Singapore for employment purposes.
The Chief Minister hence urged Scindia to permit more flights between Singapore and Madurai.
"I reiterate the two requests of the re-introduction of direct flight connectivity between Tokyo and Chennai and the increase in the number of flights between Singapore and Madurai to at least one daily flight at the earliest. I request you to kindly consider these two proposals on a priority basis."